Jennifer Byrne quits ABC. The Book Club to fold.


Jennifer Byrne has quit ABC after 11 years of The Book Club.

She was previously a presenter with Foreign Correspondent and in the late 1990s, The 7:30 Report and Lateline.

ABC will end The Book Club after its Christmas special on December 19.

“What a joy these past 11 years have been. And what a privilege to share my love of books with a wide, loyal audience on the national broadcaster. You don’t get better jobs – or better co-conspirators than Jason and Marieke, who’ve been with me from the start. We’ve had huge fun, tangled with some brilliant minds (and books), and read like threshing machines,” she said.

“For me it’s now time for a break, both to explore what might come next and remember what it’s like to read for pleasure alone. I’m proud we’ve run so long and strong. International authors were often astonished – and envious – that a show like ours existed, let alone endured. Thanks to the ABC which backed us, to the publishing industry which embraced us – and deepest thanks to the readers who travelled with us. I’ve loved the journey more than I can say.”

The Book Club with Marieke Hardy and Jason Steger have began as a 2004 special My Favourite Book before becoming monthly program, First Tuesday Book Club, attracting big name literary guests including JK Rowling, Helen Garner, Tim Winton, Alan Cumming, Richard E Grant, Michael Palin, Di Morrissey and more.

In recent years the show reformatted to 13 episodes, before 8 episodes in 2017.

David Anderson, ABC Director of Television says, “For 11 years Jennifer Byrne has been entertaining book lovers with her erudite mix of guests; heartily arguing over new releases, disputing the classics, grappling with the best summer reads, and managing to do it all with a healthy dose of laughter, affection and insight.

“We will be sad to see The Book Club go, but understand Jennifer’s decision and thank Jennifer, Marieke and Jason for the hours of reading, thinking, and talking they have shared with our audiences.”


  1. Major family events can cause a reappraisal of one’s life. Jennifer’s partner, Andrew Denton, recently had major heart surgery. I’m sure that Jennifer’s bubbly personality will re-surface somewhere.

  2. Cancelled ‘coz she’s the only person in the Commonwealth who can front it?-not bloody likely!
    I second the dismissal of ‘The Mix’-was occasionally interesting but now they’ve let a bunch of ADD 20 somethings loose on it uggh!

  3. It would be nice to think the ABC would feel the need to come up with another series to cover literature – or, at the very least, a new arts program that would regularly discuss new books. There was a time when the ABC took its duty (under the ABC charter) to cover the arts seriously, but that no longer seems to be the case. Its support for The Book Show was dwindling and niggardly, and coverage of the arts generally has been increasingly scant and miserly. (Best not to even mention The Mix). You’d never know from the ABC that more Australians regularly patronise the arts in one form or another than attend sporting events.

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